Protests spread in south Kashmir over killing of militant, 4 civilians

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Situation in sought Kashmir took a turn for the worse on Monday, March 5, as people came out on streets to protest the deaths in firing by security forces on Sunday.

Waheed Ahmad, a resident of Shopian, said, "The army's claim that the four civilians were accomplices or had anything to do with militancy is a blatant lie". But the police said he was Aamir Ahmed Malik, a resident Shopian's Harmeen village. While two bodies - one youth and one militant - were found near the site of shooting on Monday morning, four bodies - comprising three youths and a militant - were found on Sunday night itself. OGWs refer to Over-Ground Workers or associates in counter-terrorism parlance. Police later found another apparent civilian dead in a separate vehicle.

According to Indian military spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an army vehicle was sacked upon by militants at village Pohan in Shopian district, about 53 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), Sunday night. After the police arrived, a vehicle was found at some distance in which three youths were found dead, the official said. Army and police claimed the civilians were accompanying the militants and were killed during a shoot-out at Pahnoo village of Shopian.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the house of slain youth Suhail Khaleel Wagay who was killed in the Shopian firing incident. The suspected militants had opened fired on an Army check post after officers had signalled the auto to stop, an unidentified officer told PTI.

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Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said a rebel and three civilians were killed when soldiers fired back.

"The Chief Minister has termed the deceased as civilians and it is hence incumbent upon her to take stringent legal action based on the information she has as Home Minister of the state", he said. Police identified the militant as Ashiq Hussain, who was affiliated with LeT.

The killings led to massive clashes between protesters and the occupational forces in Shopian, Pulwama, and other areas, reported KMS. "Further investigation is on", a police officer said. Internet connectivity in south Kashmir was suspended while its speed was curbed at other places in the Valley.

Education institutes, too, remained closed in the Valley, and the Kashmir Administrative Services exams were postponed. The authorities have also placed several separatist leaders under house arrest.